CHICAGO (May 10, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will play its second game of the 2017 Tournament of Nations against longtime rival Brazil on July 30 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego (5 p.m. PT; ESPN2).
LAST TIME OUT
The USA and Brazil haven’t met since a pair of friendlies in October of 2015 during the USA’s Victory Tour following its triumph at the Women’s World Cup in Canada. The USA drew the first game, 1-1, in Seattle, and then won 3-1 in Orlando, which was the most recent meeting between the teams. The win marked the USA’s first victory in its last four meetings with Brazil after falling 3-2 and drawing 0-0 in Brazil in December of 2014.
The 1-1 tie on Oct. 21, 2015, was played in front of a record crowd of 23,603 at CenturyLink Field. The crowd was the largest for a WNT match played in the state of Washington. Prior to the match, Shannon Boxx was honored for her legendary career with the WNT. She retired after 12 years with the WNT with two Olympic gold medals and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup title.
Brazil got on the scoreboard first with a goal from Monica in just the third minute. The USA tied the match in the 85th minute, when Meghan Klingenberg beat a pair of defenders to get into the Brazil box and sent in a cross that Carli Lloyd hammered home.
Four days later, the WNT faced Brazil on the opposite coast, this time at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. A huge crowd of 32,869 fans attended, marking the largest stand-alone crowd to watch a USA friendly in the state of Florida.
During the match, defender Lori Chalupny and midfielder Lauren Holiday played in their final matches for the WNT and were honored before the game. Both retired as World Cup and Olympic champions, and as two of the most successful players to put on the USA jersey, earning 106 and 133 caps, respectively.
It was a fast-paced, end-to-end match that saw Brazil control the play for significant parts of the game, but it was the United States that got on the scoreboard first. In the ninth minute, Alex Morgan received a perfect through pass from Tobin Heath on the left side, ran past the defense, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted it home.
Nearing the end of the first half, Brazil got its equalizer when Cristiane received a nice slip pass from Marta in the right side of the penalty box. The USA mounted an immediate response to regain the lead three minutes later when a point-blank header from Lindsey Horan was blocked by Brazil goalkeeper Luciana but rebounded to Crystal Dunn, who finished through traffic with her right foot for the 2-1 U.S. advantage. Stephanie McCaffrey, who was making her USWNT debut, added another score in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage, volleying home a perfect Megan Rapinoe cross from the left side for the final score.
The Series: USA vs. Brazil
The U.S. WNT and Brazil have met a whopping 34 times, tied in fifth place alongside Japan and Mexico as the country the WNT has faced the most in its history. Canada and China PR lead the group with 56 games against the U.S. each, followed Norway (49) and Sweden (37). The first match between the USA and Brazil was also Brazil’s first official international match, a 2-1 U.S. win on was on July 22, 1986 in Italy. The teams did not play each other again until Nov. 19, 1991 in China, a 5-0 U.S. win during group play at the first FIFA Women’s World Cup. Between 1995-2000, the teams met 15 times, with 10 of those in the United States.
The USA and Brazil have met four times in a World Cup, once in 1991, again in 1999 (a 2-0 U.S. win in the semifinal), in the ill-fated semifinal in 2007, a 4-0 U.S. loss, and of course, in the epic quarterfinal match in Germany at the 2011 Women’s World Cup. That match saw Abby Wambach score the game-tying goal in the 122nd minute of play to take the U.S. to penalty kicks, which it would eventually win 5-3. The USA and Brazil have also met four times in the Olympics, with two of those games going into extra time, but all four resulting in U.S. victories, including a dramatic 1-0-win courtesy of Carli Lloyd goal in 2008.
Despite not winning a Women’s World Cup or an Olympic gold medal, Brazil is one of the most respected women’s soccer teams in the world, and by far the most successful women’s national team in South America. Its best finishes on the world stage were second-place at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup where it lost 2-0 to Germany in the World Cup Final, but only after Nadine Angerer had saved a penalty kick from Marta, and second place at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, losing to the U.S. in the Final on both occasions.
Former FIFA Player of the Year vs. Current FIFA Player of the Year
While both teams are composed of world-class players, two stand out amongst the rest in Carli Lloyd for the United States and Marta for Brazil. Lloyd, the current back-to-back FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, will take the field against a five-time winner in Marta. The two No. 10s are two of the most recognized faces in the game worldwide and have scored some of the most important goals for their country’s histories, while impacting the women’s game for generations to come.
Brazil Legend: Marta
In a soccer-mad country such as Brazil, Marta has reached a level of fame akin to many of the male stars. Her career is the stuff of legends. She holds the record for most goals scored at FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments with 15, has played in four World Cups (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015) and in four Olympic Games (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) and was named the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year an outstanding five years in a row (2006-2010), the only player to ever do so. She also played in two FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup tournaments in 2002 and 2004, helping Brazil to fourth-place finishes in both. In 2002, she won the Silver Ball as the second-best player in the tournament. In 2004, she did herself one better, winning the Golden Ball. At the 2007 FIFA WWC in China she won both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball as the top scorer and best player of the tournament, respectively. Most recently, she was named to the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2016. Marta has scored more than 100 international goals and has played more than 100 games for Brazil.
Her professional career began in 2002 and throughout her 15 years, she has had various stints playing in Brazil, Sweden and the United States, playing with and against many U.S. WNT players. Currently, she is teammates with Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris with Orlando Pride of the NWSL. She scored her first career NWSL goal on May 7 against FC Kansas City.
Brazilians in the NWSL
While there are many international players in the NWSL, the number of Brazilians in the league has been increasing since its inception in 2013, and currently stands at eight. While Marta is the most recognizable name of the group, other veteran and standouts for Brazil playing professionally in the U.S. are Monica (Orlando Pride), Rosana (NC Courage) and Bruna (Houston Dash). The other Brazilian players in the NWSL are Camila (Orland Pride), Debinha (NC Courage), Andressa (Houston Dash) and Poliana (Houston Dash).
At Qualcomm Stadium
The U.S. Women have played in California 38 times, with six of those matches taking place in San Diego. The game against Brazil will be the seventh in San Diego and the third at Qualcomm Stadium. The USA most recently played in that venue on Jan. 23, 2016, a 5-0 friendly victory against the Republic of Ireland that saw Mallory Pugh make her senior team debut and score her first goal at 17-years-old. Long an area that has produced talented female players, San Diego is the home of U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Shannon Macmillan and World Cup and Olympic veteran Rachel Buehler (now Van Hollebeke), who is currently in medical school at UC San Diego.